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11 crossovers we wish Spider-Man: No Way Home would bring to the MCU

In spite of months of denials from Tom Holland and just about anyone who’s been within 100 feet of a Marvel movie or television production in the last two decades, it’s looking at least possible that we’ll be seeing The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield and his Spider-Man predecessor Tobey Maguire appear as their own versions of Peter Parker in December’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. At the very least, we know Holland’s Parker will face off against Spider-Man villains from different universes, including Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and Jamie Foxx’s Electro.

During the most recent Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange warns: “They’re starting to come through — and I can’t stop them,” which presumably refers to more characters from across Marvel’s Multiverse.

With that cryptic tease in mind, we thought it might be fun to offer our wish list for the other universes and character crossovers we’d love to see collide with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in Spider-Man: No Way Home. And since there’s already been so much speculation on the prior Spider-Man franchises and recent spinoffs, we’re going to skip Tobey and Andrew, as well as Tom Hardy’s Venom, and think outside the web a bit.

Wesley Snapes as the vampire hunter Blade.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Wesley Snipes’ Blade

Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will play Marvel’s favorite vampire hunter in the upcoming reboot of the cinematic Blade franchise. But before the MCU — in fact, before even Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man or Bryan Singer’s X-Men — there was 1998’s Blade, with Wesley Snipes in the role of the eponymous daywalking human/vampire hybrid. While Snipes has been replaced as Blade, with a bit of the famous de-aging technology Marvel has used with stunning success in the past, one of the most badass superheroes to ever appear on screen could make a wonderful cameo in No Way Home.

A crossover of this sort would be fitting, too, because it wouldn’t be the first time Snipes has crossed narrative universes as Blade. He made a videoconferencing cameo in season 1 of What We Do in the Shadows as part of an all-star vampire council filled with actors reprising past vampire roles like Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn), Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), and Paul Reubens (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Blade (1998)

Horror, Action
Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson
Directed by
Stephen Norrington
Watch on HBO Max
Blade Official Trailer #1 - (1998) HD
The alternate versions of Spider-Man from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Sony Pictures Animation

The First Spider-Verse Travelers

Before Spider-Man: No Way Home was on the horizon, another group of alternate Spideys from across the Multiverse gathered in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Along with introducing characters like Miles Morales, Spider-Ham, and Spider-Gwen to the big screen, the film paid tribute to the live-action movies that preceded it, along with all other kinds of Spider-Man media. It would be pretty cool if No Way Home would return the favor.

Granted, putting cartoon characters next to live-action ones à la Who Framed Roger Rabbit could easily nudge the film over the thin line between mind-blowing and absurd, but it might be worth the risk.

Lou Ferrigno as the Incredible Hulk.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The original live-action Hulk

Sadly, the late Bill Bixby isn’t around to make any cameos in the MCU, but Lou Ferrigno — who played David Banner’s alter ego in CBS’s The Incredible Hulk series and the TV movies that followed — is still around. He had security guard cameos in 2003’s Hulk, 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, and even voiced the green goliath for 2012’s Avengers. But with Marvel’s Multiverse front and center, why not have him cameo as the live-action Hulk who famously tossed a bear and later humbled Thor by jogging toward him at a leisurely pace?

Actually, granting Ferrigno a cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home could help settle a dispute. The former pro bodybuilder recently threw shade at the so-called “Professor” Hulk of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Maybe give both characters a cameo in No Way Home and let them “discuss” things.

Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Fox’s X-Men

Ever since it was announced that Disney was acquiring Fox, fans have been desperate to know when all the warring tribes of Marvel’s mutants would finally make their way to the MCU. Hardly any Marvel project can come and go without rumors flying that it will finally be the one to introduce Professor X and his acolytes to the narrative. So why spare No Way Home?

It would probably be best to not make No Way Home the movie that introduces the X-Men to the MCU in the sense that it establishes their presence in the narrative, but a few brief flashes of their reality would be nice. Maybe a shot of Kelsey Grammer’s Beast or, dare we say it, a cameo by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. That would make sense since a shot from the latest No Way Home trailer — showing waves of energy blast from the Statue of Liberty — seems like a direct homage to 2000’s X-Men.

X-Men (2000)

Adventure, Action, Science Fiction
Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen
Directed by
Bryan Singer
Watch on Disney+
X-Men (2000) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers
Zombie Iron Man
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Marvel’s Walking Dead

In the closing pages of 2005’s Ultimate Fantastic Four No. 21, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four discovers an alternate universe in which most of Marvel’s heroes have been turned into zombies. Not long after, Marvel recruited The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman to write the first two of a growing list of Marvel Zombies miniseries and specials. While it didn’t include such classic, heroic moments as the zombie Hulk biting off the Silver Surfer’s head, the inaugural season of What If…? finally adapts Marvel Zombies, albeit in a decidedly more family-friendly manner.

Now that the Marvel Zombies is officially a part of the MCU, it would be a shame to move forward with the live-action Multiverse without at least a cameo or two of Stan Lee’s favorite brain-eaters. A couple of zombie-fied Avengers would be a welcome addition to No Way Home. Not to mention that, without any vampires around, it would give Wesley Snipes’ Blade something to do assuming he’s included, too.

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Visitors from a galaxy far, far away

While finding Star Wars characters in a Marvel movie is likely another “don’t hold your breath” choice, it’s not so far outside the realm of possibility as, say, finding Superman or Batman making MCU cameos. First, there’s the obvious — Disney owns both Marvel and Lucasfilms, so there would be no legal barriers to such a crossover. Second, it’s kind of already happened. Sort of.

In the penultimate episode of What If…?‘s inaugural season, Uatu the Watcher and an Infinity Stone-powered version of Ultron battle across the Multiverse. We see flashes of different landscapes, including one that is clearly meant to be Mustafar — the same planet upon which Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker fight their fateful duel in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. In fact, you can even see Darth Vader’s imposing fortress — first featured in live-action in 2016’s Rogue One — in the distance.

So, Marvel and Star Wars are already canonically in the same Multiverse. Vision can hang out with C-3PO. Groot and Chewebacca can share a scintillating conversation. Bucky and Luke can compare cybernetic limbs. Let’s make it happen.

Lea Thompson as Ed Gale in 1986's Howard the Duck
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Visitors from a world they never made

The MCU already has its own version of Howard the Duck who was voiced by Seth Green in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Still, it would be great to see a tribute to one of the earliest non-MCU Marvel film adaptations. Howard the Duck is not overburdened with die-hard followers, though the years have given it something of a cult status, with fans learning to be more forgiving of its flaws.

Lea Thompson, who — in ways that are anatomically confusing — plays the titular duck’s love interest, pitched a new Howard the Duck movie to Marvel. Apparently, it passed, but that doesn’t mean Howard couldn’t lend his mastery of Quack-Fu to Peter Parker in No Way Home.

Howard the Duck (1986)

Howard the Duck
Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins
Directed by
Willard Huyck
Watch on Peacock
Howard the Duck Official Trailer #2 - Tim Robbins Movie (1986) HD
Hulk 2099 and Spider-Man 2099.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Heroes who party like it’s 2099

Back in the early ’90s, Marvel introduced its 2099 line of comics, creating futuristic versions of most of its major properties including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Punisher, the Hulk, and more. The line’s popularity didn’t last long, though there are occasional revivals. In particular Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, pops up quite a bit, including in the post-credits scene for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Not only would a live-action cameo from Spider-Man 2099 be awesome, but digital artists could have a ball with Hulk 2099. Depending on which artist is drawing him. The Hulk of 2099 — better known as film studio executive John Eisenhart — often looks like a cross between the classic green goliath and the Xenomorphs of the Alien franchise.

The Justice League of Zack Snyder's Justice League.
Warner Bros. Pictures

Some guests from the ‘Distinguished Competition’

No, we’re not holding our breath for this one. Particularly considering how much Marvel has dominated the superhero film genre compared to Warner Bros., it doesn’t seem likely the latter would agree to something that would largely serve to boost Spider-Man ticket sales.

Still, we can dream. And hey, Marvel could always do something a little sneaky. Like, say, rather than Henry Cavill, give Brandon Routh a call. Then, just show his face and silhouette without any clear view of his insignia. Again, we’re not waiting underwater for it to happen, but if Aquaman can be turned into a viable live-action film franchise, what isn’t possible?

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)

Zack Snyder's Justice League
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot
Directed by
Zack Snyder
Watch on HBO Max
Zack Snyder's Justice League | Official Trailer | HBO Max
The mutants of The Age of Apocalypse.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The X-Men of Age of Apocalypse

In the popular 1995 Marvel Comics event Age of Apocalypse, all of the X-Men comics were temporarily replaced with miniseries set in a dark future in which the villain Apocalypse had conquered North America. The histories of all of Marvel’s mutants unfold differently. For example, the Beast is a mad scientist working for Apocalypse, while Wolverine works with the Human Resistance and is short one hand after a battle with Cyclops.

Cameos from Age of Apocalypse characters would not only represent a wonderful nod to the fans, but it would be a great bit of irony to introduce alternate versions of the X-Men to audiences before giving them the “proper” versions of the mutants.

Bumblebee of the Transformers.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Some old friends from Cybertron

Just like we don’t really expect the Justice League to show up in No Way Home, we doubt we’ll see either the Autobots or the Decepticons in the upcoming film. But it would be unbelievably fun to show that their universe is attached to that of the MCU, especially since Marvel and the Transformers have a long history together.

Marvel Comics published the very first Transformers comic book series, which ran for 80 issues between 1984 and 1991. In fact, in 1985’s Transformers No. 3, Spider-Man meets the Autobots and teams up with Gears on a mission to save the robots’ mechanic buddy Sparkplug Witwicky.

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Michileen Martin
Michileen Martin has written about pop culture in general and comics in particular for two decades. His work has appeared in…
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